Real Madrid: Luka Modric's highlights v Chelsea prove he's ageing like fine wine

Luka Modric might be just a few months away from his 37th birthday, but he’s still one of Real Madrid’s most crucial assets – as he proved during Tuesday’s epic Champions League quarter-final second leg against Chelsea.

Modric has already played a starring role this season to take Los Blancos to the brink of the La Liga title, but his herculean effort to help Real overcome Thomas Tuchel’s Blues was on another level entirely.

Entering the match with a 3-1 advantage after last week’s first leg at Stamford Bridge, Real were dealt a major shock at the Bernabeu as Chelsea fought back in fine style to lead 3-0 on the night with only 15 minutes remaining.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men were heading out of the competition until a moment of magic from Modric set the stage for Rodrygo to level the tie at 4-4 on aggregate.

Bending a sublime ball over a helpless Chelsea defence with the outside of his boot, the Croatian superstar found his Brazilian colleague absolutely perfectly, before Rodrygo volleyed past Edouard Mendy.

You can check out the pass – which seems to get better with each viewing – below.

Watch: Luka Modric’s insane assist for Rodrygo during Real Madrid v Chelsea

As outstanding as that piece of brilliance to force the tie into extra-time was from Modric, it was merely the icing on the cake to a titanic individual performance.

While his younger midfield colleagues Toni Kross and Casemiro were replaced by Ancelotti well before the end of normal time, 36-year-old Modric put in a tenacious shift for the full 120-minute duration of Tuesday’s encounter.

Not only was Modric at the heart of much of what Real did well from an attacking standpoint, but he also threw himself wholeheartedly into his side’s defensive effort.

MADRID, SPAIN – APRIL 12: Mateo Kovacic of Chelsea is challenged by Luka Modric of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg Two match between Real Madrid and Chelsea FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 12, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

His resolve seemed to increase even more when Karim Benzema gave the home side the lead in the tie during the first period of extra-time.

As the minutes ticked down, Modric was battling for every ball, flying into challenges with the energy of a player 20 years his junior to ensure his side held on to book a semi-final clash with either Manchester City or Atletico Madrid.

Modric’s phenomenal effort saw him awarded the Player of the Match award by UEFA. Judging by his highlights below, it couldn’t have been more deserved.

Video: Luka Modric’s Player of the Match performance v Chelsea was sensational

Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Modric praised Real’s fighting spirit.

“Unbelievable to describe this game. We were dead until the goal we scored.

“Chelsea scored three goals, maybe the first a bit lucky from a deflection. I can’t say we played badly. They used their chances well and scored the goals.

MADRID, SPAIN – APRIL 12: Luka Modric of Real Madrid acknowledges the crowd after the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg Two match between Real Madrid and Chelsea FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 12, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

“We didn’t give up. We kept believing, fighting and in the end showed huge character.

“It was another incredible night, what a sweet tasting loss. We didn’t give up until the end. 

“Despite going 0-3, I don’t think we played a bad game. Another night of suffering, but the important thing is that we have qualified.”

Can you name these UEFA Champions League final stadiums?

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Can you name the team that plays in this UEFA Champions League final stadium from 2021?

Modric’s current deal in the Spanish capital is due to expire in the summer and, per, negotiations over a fresh deal have stalled as Real are reportedly unwilling to match the midfielder’s salary expectations.

On the evidence of Tuesday evening, Modric is worth every penny he’s asking for.

Chelsea crash out of Champions League (Via The Football Terrace)

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